With the penultimate round of this season, St Helens were confirmed League Leaders, Salford confirmed their play-off spot, and the rest of the top six did battle in preparation for the play-offs.
Salford make the play-offs for the second time in just four years
Salford’s seventh win from eight confirmed their 2022 play-off spot in spectacular fashion as they put 50 points on Castleford. After Watson’s departure and a disappointing season last year under Richard Marshall, it looked as though it would be a long time before the quality of the 2019 side could be repeated. However, with Paul Rowley in charge and the signings of Brodie Croft and Marc Sneyd, Salford look every bit as good as they did in 2019, and will be the team to avoid for the play-offs.
St Helens win the League Leaders’ Shield
For weeks now, it has seemed like a matter of when, not if, Saints would be confirmed League Leaders. Ironically, the moment finally came as both them and second placed Wigan lost with weakened sides. St Helens have been top of the league since the early rounds, and have set the standard all year even with injuries. Despite the impressive achievement, the focus for the clubs at the top will shift towards the Grand Final.
Losses for Leeds and Castleford set up play-off decider
Castleford’s heavy defeat and Leeds’ first defeat in seven in Perpignan have meant that the winner of their game on Saturday will take the final play-off spot. Leeds looked set to take up the 5th spot, but their result against Catalans has meant that they must win the final game. They will go into the game as favourites given the fact they’ll have a home advantage, as well as Castleford’s confidence taking a huge knock.
Catalans put on an impressive performance to confirm home play-off fixture
After a run of four games where they picked up just one win, Catalans picked up two consecutive victories to confirm 4th place. A victory over Wigan would be yet another, much needed confidence boost as they go into the play offs against either Leeds or Salford. After enjoying the best season in their history last year, they will need to gain some consistency before the knockout games start.
Warrington’s 18th defeat of the season confirms their 11th spot
After high expectations at the start of the season, Warrington have ended up one place away from relegation. The season has caused talk around the direction the club is heading in. Daryl Powell’s start to life at Warrington couldn’t have gone much worse, but the club looks to have backed him with some major signings arriving in 2023. Next year should be a better year for the Wire.